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How do I Fix Dead Pixels?

Brendan McGuigan
Brendan McGuigan

There are few things more frustrating than having a beautiful display marred by one or two black spots, which can ruin any picture. Thankfully, it’s actually surprisingly easy to fix dead pixels, with a number of different options available that will solve the majority of cases. It is possible, however, that none of these options will work, in which case it may be necessary to take the display in to a professional to be fixed.

First of all, it’s important to know whether what you’re dealing with is actually a dead pixel, a hot pixel, or simply a stuck pixel. Dead pixels are pixels on an LCD monitor that appear completely black, since no light is being emitted at all. Hot pixels are pixels that are always stuck on, making them appear white. Stuck pixels, on the other hand, may be red, green, blue, cyan, magenta, or yellow, depending on which of the three RGB subpixels are stuck on.

Man holding computer
Man holding computer

Often, people refer to a stuck pixel as a dead pixel, but strictly speaking, this is incorrect. Each pixel contains three subpixels, one for red, one for green, and one for blue, and in a true dead pixel, all three of these subpixels are dead, making it completely black. A stuck pixel, on the other hand, involves one or two subpixels being stuck either always on or always off. To fix stuck pixels, you can try a number of techniques.

The easiest is to download a special software program designed to cycle colors on the screen rapidly, which can sometimes jar loose the subpixels that are stuck, fixing the pixel entirely. The next option is known as the pressure method, in which the monitor is turned off, and solid pressure is applied to the screen with a soft, rounded object such as an eraser, usually through a towel or cloth to protect the screen. The monitor is then turned on, and often the stuck pixel will have vanished. The tapping method can also be tried, in which the stuck pixel is tapped repeatedly with something like a marker cap, hopefully jarring it loose.

It is somewhat more rare to successfully fix pixels that are entirely dead, where they always appear black. There are some software options, where colors are flashed in a certain zone on the screen over and over, cycling through until the dead pixel hopefully springs to life. The pressure method may also work with truly dead pixels, but the success rate is relatively lower than with simply stuck pixels. Generally speaking, these two methods combined will fix dead pixels around 60% of the time. Additionally, some dead pixels may simply fix themselves as time passes, although if the dead pixel was originally caused by a screen defect, it is possible for it to return over time.

Discussion Comments


I think the software solution is safer and easier. Why not try it first?


If none of these methods work, don't forget you might be able to send your display back for a replacement if it's under warranty, depending on the conditions of the warranty.

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